Posted On: 06/28/18 3:01 PM
Last night, we stopped by St. Paul’s to check out some playoff match ups. Sometimes summer leagues can be a hit or miss in terms of intensity, but last night didn’t disappoint.
Logan Curtis owns the night
Logan Curtis played his best basketball that I’ve seen last night. Calvert Hall didn’t earn a first-round bye, so they had two games throughout the evening. In both, Curtis was nothing short of dominant. In the second game against a strong Dulaney squad, Curtis was the catalyst of an overall strong defensive effort. The East Carolina commit blocked multiple shots, grabbed at least a dozen rebounds and had a couple of steals that led to fast break points. Offensively, there was no answer for him. He scored from wherever he wanted. Whether it was pull up three’s in the halfcourt or attacking his man off the dribble and getting to the rim, the 6-foot-3 guard asserted his strength and scored 23 of his teams 38 points in the win.
Poly will once again be a force
It’s no secret that Poly is the best public school team in the city. Their back-to-back state titles can attest to that argument. With Demetrius Mims moving onto Long Beach State, the spotlight turns to other players like Justin Lewis (2020) and Rahim Ali (2020). The Engineers were without Lewis last night, but rode Ali’s energy as they defeated a tough Gerstell team in overtime. Ali was excellent on both ends. Offensively, he was facilitating, but also being aggressive in looking for his own scoring opportunities. One part of his game that has been a weakness is his three-point shot, but this spring/summer it has become consistent. Whether it is off the dribble or off the catch, his release is smooth and the rotation on the ball is crisp. Defensively he’s as a competitive player as you’ll find. He applies pressure full court and forces his match up to turn with the ball multiple times before getting into a set.
A player that may catch people by surprise is Brandon Murray (2020). The 6-foot-5 forward spent last year in New York, but will be another huge threat for Poly. He plays with great strength and versatility. Last night, he was pivotal in their win by scoring eight points in the second half and hitting two free throws to put his team up one. Next to Lewis in the frontcourt, there won’t be many other teams in the area that can match up talent-for-talent with Poly.
Gerstell adds key transfers
The reigning MIAA B Conference champions were set to have another big season before landing a couple of key players. With Ahmad Harrison (2021) and Anthony Carpenter (2019) from last year’s squad, they’ll provide leadership and familiarity of what it takes to win in their league. But the Falcons will have Camden Blount (2021), a transfer from West Nottingham Academy and Isaac James (2020), a transfer from Patterson, to help their chances of repeating. Blount is a strong guard with a nice frame that will provide toughness and scoring, while James is a long, 6-foot-6 big that will bring athleticism and an inside presence. Each of the new comers had decent showings in their games yesterday and will be ones to watch moving forward.
Cam Byers adds inside presence that Dulaney desperately needed
Despite losing to Calvert Hall in their playoff game last night, Dulaney will be a strong contender in the area with the addition of Cam Byers. Byers transferred from John Carroll and joins an extremely talented core that includes Ryan Conway (2021) Che Evans (2020) and Ike Cornish (2021). The one thing the Lions were missing last season was a physical presence in the paint. Evans was stuck having to log a lot of minutes at the center and despite his height at 6-foot-6, he’s not a guy who will play naturally inside. Byers brings physicality and strength along with ability to take his man off the dribble from the perimeter on straight line drives. He can rebound well on the defensive end and is a capable defender in pick-and-rolls.